If you snore while you sleep or you wake up suddenly out of your sleep, these could be indications that you’re not breathing properly. If you can breathe properly while sleeping, some adjustments to the way you sleep or some lifestyle changes may help. Some people will also use breathing exercises before they go to bed to help train their body to breathe properly.
While breathing is a mostly involuntary response. There are exercises you can do to help teach yourself how to breathe better. There are a variety of health issues that could prevent you from breathing freely, particularly while you sleep. If you have sinus problems, you suffer from sleep apnea, or you experience other breathing related difficulties, these can keep you from sleeping soundly at night and from getting restful sleep.
What Causes you to Stop Breathing in your Sleep?
People who suffer from sleep apnea may awake suddenly out of their sleep. They may stop breathing in their sleep, which can cause long term damage to their heart. How can you tell if you have sleep apnea? Snoring may be an indication, as can waking with a start out of sleep. If you feel constantly fatigued during the day and like you have very little energy, the problem could be that you’re not getting enough sleep at night because of breathing issues created by sleep apnea.
This is a medical problem that you want to take very seriously. Sleep apnea can shorten your lifespan if not properly treated. If you think you may be suffering from this condition, then you should consult a doctor for treatment.
Would you like to breathe easier even when you do you have sleep apnea? There are some changes you can make, some of which are minor and some of which will take a lot of effort.
If you are overweight, your doctor will likely suggest that you lose weight to help with your sleep apnea. This reduces stress on your body and your lungs, making it easier for you to breathe properly.
Another change that can help with sleep apnea is to sleep on your side. This can help open up your airways and prevent blockages, giving your breath more freedom to move back and forth. The worst position to sleep in with sleep apnea is on your back, since that will make you struggle to breathe properly with this medical condition.
Exercise can help as well, improving the way you breathe and treating your sleep apnea. Getting on a regular exercise routine can make a big difference in how well you sleep at night and how severely your sleep apnea affects you.
You should also avoid alcohol, as that can contribute to sleep apnea complications.
Breathing Exercises and Their Benefits
If you have difficulty breathing properly while you sleep, there could be any number of reasons why this is happening. Breathing exercises can help no matter what the issue is. They may not completely fix the problem, but they can provide some relief and improve your breathing while you sleep.
I definitely recommend trying some breathing exercises before you go to sleep as a way to prepare your body to rest. There are many reasons why you may want to do a few breathing exercises before you sleep:
- Calms your nerves
- Regulates your breathing
- Reduces tension and stress
- Opens up your airways
- Oxygenates your blood
- Provides a more restful sleep
While there are tons of different breathing exercises you could try, let’s start with something very simple. Begin by taking a long, deep breath. Let that out slowly and completely, thinking about how the air feels passing through your body. Repeat this several times, slowing down your exhalation each time so that it finally becomes twice as long as your inhalation.
Another good breathing exercise to try that is very simple is rapid breathing. Taking quick breaths in and out oxygenates your blood very quickly. It’s the same breathing exercise that swimmers will use before they go under the water holding their breath. It fills your lungs and your bloodstream with lots of oxygen, so it’s easier to breathe. This is also a really good way to check your sinuses, as you can do this breathing exercise with your mouth closed and by breathing through your nose.
Clear Your Airways – Alternatives to Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are not the only way that you can clear up your sinuses and open your airways. You can also use a humidifier in your room. This device is a great way to clear your sinuses out and make it easier for you to breathe. Your sinuses, particularly your nasal cavity, can become dried and may lack moisture. This makes it difficult to breathe and makes it impossible for you to breathe through your nose properly. A humidifier moisturizes your nasal cavities, permitting easier breathing once more.
If you’re looking for how to breathe properly while sleeping, moisturizing your sinuses with a humidifier is a great way to do it.
You can also use a vapor rub, which is a gel you apply to your chest. It is usually made with eucalyptus oil and helps to open up your airways. By rubbing the gel on your chest, you’ll be able to breathe the vapor in as you lie down on the bed. As the vapors fill your sinuses, you should experience respiratory relief.
How Do Sleeping Positions Affect Your Breathing?
Your sleeping position can affect how you breathe as well. If you can’t breathe properly when sleeping on side, you can try sleeping on your stomach or your back. Each position has its own quirks and benefits, and it’s worth it to try changing positions to see if it affects how easily you can breathe.
Most people breathe best on their side, but sleeping on your back can be helpful as well for easy breathing. You may want to slightly elevate your legs with a small pillow. This can help to straighten your back and relieve some pressure on your body as well.
If you have trouble breathing while laying on your stomach, it may help to remove your pillow completely. Elevating your head in this position can be uncomfortable and put a strain on your neck. It can also make it difficult for your airways to open up the way they should. Try getting rid of the pillow and see if that helps you breathe easier while sleeping on your stomach.
You may also want to change the position of your head, depending on how you sleep. Adding another pillow and elevating your head further can help you to breathe easier. This is especially helpful if you have congestion or sinus infection. Clogged sinuses can make it tough for you to sleep at night, and you can open them up simply by laying on your back and elevating your head. Adding a second pillow behind your head will help to elevate your head and neck and cause some of the mucus in you that is giving you congestion to drain down instead of sitting in your sinuses.
Try some of these little fixes and see if they make a difference for you. You probably don’t have to continue suffering with difficulty breathing while you sleep. If you do have a medical problem, though, that is causing you difficulty breathing, you should talk to a doctor about it. Simply changing up your sleep position, elevating your head, or using a humidifier will not treat the root problem of a medical condition.